If you’re like me, you may head out for a run through the neighborhood and within a few steps hit your groove and start rolling along, saying to yourself, “Dude, I feel good.” A couple of minutes later, though, you find your legs start to burn, your breathing gets ragged, and your will begins to falter.

You went out too fast. Running too fast is a common problem for all runners, but especially new runners.

The trick to avoid this: go slower. One way is to walk. If you want to run a 5K or half-marathon, you might think walking is a bad thing. It’s not.

In fact, integrating intentional walk breaks into your runs is a great way to start a running program. As Olympian and author Jeff Galloway writes, a walk break “lets you break up the distance into manageable chunks,” which gives you “control over the way you feel during and after” an exercise bout. That is, by planning to slow down to a walk, you’re the one in charge.

That “manageable chunk” depends on your fitness.

Members of the Southern Arizona Roadrunners, Tia and Randy Accetta produce running events and coach runners around the country through their company, Run Tucson LLC.